Top 10 Veterans News from Around the Country


Find out What’s Inside Today’s Local News for Veterans

  1. Shinseki: Report By Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Task Force Nearly Complete.
  2. After VA Finds Errors, EHR Network Portal Shut Down.
  3. Quantico’s Wounded Warrior Regiment Helps Marines Heal.
  4. Wounded Iraq Combat Veteran Gets Home Makeover.
  5. Female USMC Teams Train To Assist Afghan Women.
  6. VA Hospital Co-Hosting Donation Drive For Victims Of Rape, Domestic Violence.
  7. Tampa’s Athena Project Provides Transitional Housing For Female Veterans.
  8. Group Seeks Clearance For Transitional Housing For Homeless Female Veterans.
  9. VA Has Programs To Aid Homeless Veterans.
  10. Geriatrician Shortage Seems Likely To Worsen.

Have You Heard
U.S. News and World Report columnist Paul Bedard wrote last week that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is considered one of the Obama Administrations five best secretaries. “Typically, State, Treasury, and Defense lead the pack, followed by Commerce,” Bedard wrote, “but under Obama, Treasury has fallen.” He noted that Washington insiders include Defense Secretary Gates and Secretary of State Clinton on their lists of the best but then add Veterans Affairs, Transportation and Education, usually considered “second tier”. “That’s because all three secretaries are bringing new energy to the stodgy posts,” Bedard wrote. “Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has turned an agency that is at the bottom of lists in past administrations into an example of how to bring federal services to the troops, injured veterans, and even homeless vets. He’s showing that the VA has a heart.”

1.      Shinseki: Report By Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Task Force Nearly Complete. The lead item in George W. Reilly’s “Veterans Journal” column for the Providence (RI) Journal (3/8) notes, “Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki announced on Feb. 27 that the department’s Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Task Force has nearly completed a comprehensive report that will redefine how VA addresses the needs of ill veterans who deployed during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991.” Reilly adds, “Task Force chairman John Gingrich, VA’s chief of staff and a retired Army officer who served during the Gulf War, said, ‘Reaching out to Gulf War veterans is not only essential to our transformation of VA, for many of us it is also personal.'”

2.      After VA Finds Errors, EHR Network Portal Shut Down. In continuing coverage, Computer World (3/6, Mearian) reported, “The electronic health record (EHR) network portal for the US Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was shut down this week after the VA found errors in some patients’ medical data that clinicians downloaded from the defense network, according to a patient safety alert.” After noting that the “decision to shut down the portal was first reported” by NextGov, Computer World added, “According to the VA, no patients were harmed as a result of the errors in the EHR system.”

3.      Quantico’s Wounded Warrior Regiment Helps Marines Heal. In an article headlined “Marines Taking Care of Their Own,” the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star (3/7, Dennen) reports on the Wounded Warrior Regiment at Quantico, Virginia, which coordinates care for Marines injured in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. Among the services it offers are family support, clinical services staff to help with care coordination, chaplains, recovery care coordinators, job transition assistance, liaisons with the Department of Veterans Affairs” and with 23 support offices in the US and overseas.

4.      Wounded Iraq Combat Veteran Gets Home Makeover.The Orlando Sentinel (3/7, Palm, 222K) reports, “The house on Enclave Drive in South Orlando looks just like any other suburban home, but hundreds of people gathered Saturday to begin the process of making it special. The five-bedroom, three bathroom house is being renovated for William Castillo, a U.S. Army veteran who was severely injured and lost a leg in 2007 in Iraq.” A project of the New York-based Building Homes For Heroes a New York-based group that raises money to renovate homes that are donated, mortgage-free to wounded veterans, the project was aided by contributions from foundations begun by a local restaurant chain and a country club. The group, which has thus far rebuilt seven homes nationwide, hopes to finish one or two Florida homes each year.

5.      Female USMC Teams Train To Assist Afghan Women. The New York Times (3/7, Bumiller, 1.09M) reports that 40 Marines are set to “begin work as members of the first full-time ‘female engagement teams,’ the military’s name for four- and five-member units that will accompany men on patrols in Helmand Province to try to win over the rural Afghan women who are culturally off limits to outside men. The teams, which are to meet with the Afghan women in their homes, assess their need for aid and gather intelligence, are part of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s campaign for Afghan hearts and minds.” The Times adds, “The teams reflect how much the military has adapted over nine years of war, not only in the way it fights but to the shifting gender roles within its ranks.”

6.      VA Hospital Co-Hosting Donation Drive For Victims Of Rape, Domestic Violence. The second item in “Helping Works” for the Boise-based Idaho Statesman (3/7, Webb, 61K) noted that the Veterans Affairs hospital in Boise and the Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA) are scheduled to “host a donation drive for victims of rape and domestic violence, March 15-26.” The VA hospital “has coordinated this drive to promote an important campaign: the Department of Veterans Affairs national Women’s Health Domestic Abuse Awareness Campaign, and to benefit clients” at a shelter run by the WCA.

7.      Tampa’s Athena Project Provides Transitional Housing For Female Veterans.The Tampa Tribune (3/7, Morelli, 196K) reports on the Athena Project, a program offered through Tampa Crossroads with financial assistance from the VA, that provides transitional housing for 10 previously homeless female military veterans. The current residence lacks room for children, but a facility planned to open in a year or so would meet that need.

8.      Group Seeks Clearance For Transitional Housing For Homeless Female Veterans.The < a href=”” target=”bnnpopup”>Connecticut Post (3/6, Torres) reports that the Female Soldier: Forgotten Heroes project plans to open the first transitional housing facility in the state for homeless female veterans. The group, which already runs a transitional facility in Bridgeport for male veterans, is seeking zoning approval to convert a three-story frame house in that city to a 17-bed transitional women’s housing facility, including veterans with children under the age of 2, while offering vocational training, job placement, life-skills coaching and case management.

9.      VA Has Programs To Aid Homeless Veterans. The “Veterans Corner” column for the Indiana (PA) Gazette (3/8, 15K).

10.    Geriatrician Shortage Seems Likely To Worsen.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (3/7, Glauber, 224K) profiles geriatrician Dr. Edmund H. Duthie, who practices at a local hospital, teaches at a medical school and “is also the section leader in geriatric medicine at Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center.” The article notes that while in 2008 the nation had under 7,600 board-certified geriatricians, by the year 2030, it will need 36,000, when over 75 million Americans will be age 65 and up. But, it adds, that looming shortage “is unlikely to be filled. The field is not as financially rewarding as others in medicine — geriatricians in private practice earned a median salary of $161,888 in 2006. That’s less than half the median salary of those in specialties such as radiology and orthopedics.”


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